You may or may not have heard of the curious instance of the cremated remains that were recently discovered in an open lot in the 2600 block of Oakdale Street in North Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion area. The mystery was never centered on the identity of the person within the receptacle. The box provided the name of the individual, Linda Upshur. The mystery was how the ashes found themselves in an open lot as well as to whom the receptacle should be returned.
Along with providing the identity of the person contained in the receptacle, the box also had printed the date of death, date of cremation, and the location of the cremation, Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory. This allowed enterprising journalists the ability to begin the search for finding the rightful home and resting place for Ms. Upshur. Unfortunately, representatives from Ivy Hill stated their records showed Ms. Upshur’s cremated remains were released to a funeral home shortly after the cremation, and that funeral home provided no leads in solving the mystery.
Thankfully, Ms. Upshur was active in the Philadelphia community in her earlier days, advocating for civil rights and working with the local NAACP chapter. Through news articles she was mentioned in, it was also learned that she was a commercial credit analyst for Continental Bank in City Center. This information provided David Chang with NBC10 just enough information to begin piecing together who Ms. Upshur was and how her cremated remains came to be in an abandoned lot.
Ms. Upshur lived, like so many of us, a varied and complicated life. Toward the end, she battled the demon of addiction and surrounded herself with friends that became her family. It was one of these people, Linda Cooper, who last had possession of the ashes. She explained that, after the death of her husband, she moved from the apartment where they had the ashes, and they were simply left behind. She claims she never intended disrespect to her dear friend and doesn’t know how the cremated remains made their way a block and a half away to the open lot.
But one thing was certain from those who came forward to help end the mystery: Those who interacted with her believed her to be a good, genuine, and loving individual. For the time being, the cremated remains are in the possession of the Philadelphia Police Department. Hopefully they will be able to find family or determine who else should assume possession of them.